Why we walk…

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Right now, babies need all the help they can get. Premature birth affects approximately 380,000 in the United States.  Many of you know, my own life has been affected by the birth of our son, Jonathan, at 27 weeks.  He is a survivor and a miracle.  He is our Jonathan; our “Gift from God.”

Unfortunately, there are also many others who don’t survive.  Also, many who survive, are in need of constant care and support as their babies grow and hopefully, thrive.

In a week, we will be joining the March for Babies here in the Chicago suburbs and walking alongside those who cared for our precious son, The AMITA NICU Warriors.

I walk for my own son, but I also walk for those who don’t survive prematurity and/or the birth defects they are born with.  We need more research to help babies survive and thrive.  Already, more babies are surviving and thriving that wouldn’t have 10 years ago.  Jonathan is the perfect example of this, and yet, there is much more to learn.  If you’d like to help, please make a secure donation or walk with us!  Together, we can help March of Dimes, so more babies can get the strongest start possible.

We honor Jonathan with this walk.  Look at this guy and his NICU team!  IMG_2564

We walk in memory of Jesse Amandus, who fought an amazing fight after his birth at 24 weeks, but could only be with us for 13 days.  IMG_6413

We walk in thanks for the care received in the NICU at AMITA Adventist Hinsdale Hospital, and all of the hands that have helped and continue to help us walk through this journey.  IMG_7561
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Please click here if you’d like to make a DONATION.  Thank You for all of your support, love and prayers!

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Why I March…

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Many of you know that we gave birth to this beautiful baby boy at 27 weeks last February.  This precious boy was 1 pound, 15 ounces at birth.  This picture is the first time I was finally able to see my little boy.  I was too sick to see him for the first 2 days.  He is 3 days old here.  Prematurity is near and dear to our hearts.  After spending 3 months in the NICU, we witnessed so much.  We were certainly blessed to have not only survived such an early birth, but to have thrived.  Many babies are surviving such young gestation because of the work of March of Dimes.  But, there are many that don’t and babies who struggle even more than my beloved boy.

In honor of these babies, I am marching in the March of Dimes walk to help raise money for babies who struggle with prematurity, babies born with birth defects, and to raise funds, awareness and research for early infant mortality.

I walk to honor my son.

I walk in memory of Baby Jesse Amandus.

I walk in Thanks to Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and all of the hands who have played and continue to play a role in our journey.  They not only help us survive, but to thrive.  As always, a special shout out to CHN for all of the continued love and support.

If you or anyone you think may be interested in supporting our cause.  I invite you to visit our page (simply click on the link):

March for Babies

Thank You!!!

 

We’re all Here

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Almighty God,
bless this dear child,
born before his time,
yet made in your image
and perfect in your sight
and Father, we ask that if it be
Thy will, that this beautiful
infant grow stronger and
healthier with each passing day.
Give us, O Lord, the strength
to entrust to your care,
this precious little one
so very much beloved,
and grant us the grace
to pray as Jesus taught us,
that “Thy will be done”.
by: ukok

Friends,
I’d like to introduce a very special baby. His name is Jesse.

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Jesse was born last Sunday, December 13, 2015 at 4:25am weighing 1lb, 15oz. He only 24 weeks and 6 days to grow and develop inside his Mommy.  Today, Jesse is 1 week old, with a corrected age of 27 weeks and 6 days.  He’s a miracle.  He’s a fighter.  He’s a survivor.  I invite you to continue to pray for this precious baby boy and for those giving him care.

Church of the Holy Nativity, also known as CHN, had a Prayer Vigil for Jesse on Tuesday and we tied prayer knots in this blanket for him.  It now covers his isolette.  Each candle also represents someone praying for this amazing boy.  We want his mommies to know we are lifting them up in prayer as well.  I will update you as I get information, but for now please lift him up in prayer.

My little man is 9 months (6 months corrected age)!!!

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I can’t believe how time has flown!  Jonathan is now 9 months old/6 months corrected age for prematurity.  He is 26 inches long (23%) and weighs in at 15lb 3oz (6%)!  Hooray!  The pediatrician was impressed with Jonathan’s growth!

Jonathan is still hitting all of his targets for development.  We don’t visit the NEST clinic (developmental clinic) until December.  Then he’ll have an updated evaluation from all of the different therapies.  He rolls over.  Loves to babble and has just learned to blow raspberries.  He has a sweet, sweet laugh that I get to hear everyday.

I still haven’t had a first day back to work.  I officially left my full time position, but the hospital kept me on a casual status (relief).  This is great for me to keep my foot in the door.  Right now, I just can’t fathom being away from the baby for 14 hours at a time minimum.  It feels strange not to work, but being at home with a baby is probably the hardest work I’ve ever done….but the most rewarding too.  I would hate to miss seeing my little miracle grow.  Something new seems to happen every day.  Hope all is well in your worlds!  I try to keep everyone updated more frequently!

6 Months – We’ve made it!

We’re celebrating!  Jonathan has been with us for 6 months!  It’s been a long road, but he is doing so well!  We went to the pediatrician this week and he is now weighing in at 11lb 8.5oz.  Still a little small for his corrected gestational age, but she was happy with his growth in between visits!

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He’s helping Dr. McCabe by hanging on to her stethoscope!  Besides growing, Jonathan is now teething!  I wasn’t sure at first, but it’s confirmed by his pediatrician.  He has the “all-clear” to begin eating food as soon as he’s ready.  He’s just about there. She thinks he’ll be ready before his next appointment.  I’m actually really looking forward to making his baby food!

We’ve also found that he just loves elephants.  It’s adorable.  He gets so happy when he sees one.  Here he is talking to one of his best buddies…ha ha ha.

We are blessed.

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5 months! ….but it’s really 11 weeks

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This little guy is eating, eating eating…which means he’s growing, growing, growing!!!  His colic seems to be slowing improving.  It’s usually a 1 hour window in the evenings instead of 6 hours like it was in the beginning.  I pray none of you having babies in these next few months have to wrestle with it, but if you do….give a shout.  It’s more about trying different things until you find what works, but the emotional toil it takes on Mommy and Daddy is huge.  I didn’t realize how much it was also affecting my spouse until we both had meltdowns.  I’ve decided they make babies cute so that you can’t help but smile and LOVE when you look at them!

There is a lot to love about my child though.  Here are my favorite moments, in no particular order….

I love when he purrs (coos) that little sound while nursing.

I love that cheeky grin he gives me when he can see I’m coming.

I love that he currently behaves at church.

I love how he just looks for the boob in his sleep and sometimes gets a mouthful of shirt…but keeps sucking (ha ha ha)

I love how much joy others get just by knowing his story and seeing him in person.  This makes me feel so blessed and like my child is anointed.  He has given many so much faith…including Mommy & Daddy.

Jonathan has such a personality, it’s so fun and to think he’s not even 3 months old (corrected age) yet!  Thank you all for your outpouring of love and support.  We don’t have official measurements, but he’s more than 10 pounds and is measuring at least 22 inches.  I’ll give you an update after he sees his pediatrician next month.

In the meantime, Jonathan had his first pool party this week, so I thought I’d share a few pictures!

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A Celebration and a Baptism

Announcement

Our story in a nutshell, but it’s so much more.

We had a beautiful celebratory Father’s Day weekend.  A first, for us!  Saturday we had a “Welcome Home” party in lieu of  a shower for our little miracle, our gift from God.  We are overwhelmed by the love and support people continue to give us as well as their presence at these events.  We are so blessed.

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Another mommy calming the wee one!

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Enjoying the festivities…as long as he’s constantly fed!  It truly amazes me how much this guy eats!  His favorite is still Mommy’s milk!  By the way, breastfeeders to be…I love these bottles!  They’re great for transitioning back and forth from bottle to boob or boob to bottle!

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Preparing for his baptism…

Come to me, come. Let the little children come.  Come and receive the kingdom of God.

May all of you find the blessings and promises of God as I have this first Father’s Day weekend.

We’ve made it to 4 months!!!

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As of today, Jonathan is officially 4 months old (actually) and 1 month old (corrected gestational age).  He is weighing 7lb, 10oz!!!!  It’s so exciting to see him grow.

He’s slowly but surely getting better with the colic.  As the pediatrician recommended, we started him on probiotics (Gerber Soothe), and we do think it’s helping.  I don’t know what I would do without the baby carrier, rocking chair, and the occasional glass of wine!  Yes, I’m breastfeeding and everyone has said it’s ok!  Don’t pump and dump.  Have an occasional glass of wine.  The most exciting thing lately is that Jonathan has finally figured out how to nurse laying down, so I don’t have to fully wake myself up at night anymore!   I put him in bed with me, put the boob out nearby and he does the rest!  I’m so glad I didn’t give up on it!!!

For now, we are in the midst of planning a Welcome Home party (since we never had a chance to have a shower) and his christening, so more pictures will follow this month.  We are so blessed.  Thank you all for your encouragement and keeping us in your thoughts and prayers!

Happy Easter

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!
Christ us risen, indeed! Alleluia!

What does Easter mean to all of you?  For me, Easter is a time of overcoming…of a battle won…of new life.  These are promises of Easter that many turn to for comfort during difficult times.  I know that I do.

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Jonathan’s 1st Easter was spent in the NICU, but we tried to make it celebratory anyway!  He is now 4lb, 7oz!  What a BIG boy!  This is my reminder of the life of Easter.  I am so grateful for all of the love and support from family, friends, and neighbors.  It truly does take a village!

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In his Easter bonnet, thanks to SaraAnn’s Homespun What Knots!  Right now, we are working on feeding and weaning his oxygen…that’s all he has to do to get home!  Please send prayers for this little guy!

Valleys

It’s in the valleys I grow

Sometimes life seems hard to bear,
full of sorrow, trouble and woe.
It’s then I have to remember
that it’s in the valleys I grow

If I always stayed on the mountain top
and never experienced pain,
I would never appreciate God’s love
and would be living in vain

I have so much to learn
and my growth is very slow,
sometimes I need the mountain tops
But it’s in the valleys I grow

I do not always understand,
why things happen as they do.
But I am very sure of one thing,
My Lord will see me through

My little valleys are nothing
when I picture Christ on the cross
He went through the valley of death,
His victory was Satan’s loss.

Forgive me Lord, for complaining
when I’m feeling so very low.
Just give me a gentle reminder
that it’s in the valleys I grow.

continue to strengthen me, Lord.
and use my life each day
to share your love with others
and help them find their way.

Thank you for valleys, Lord
for this one thing I know
the mountain tops are glorious
But it’s in the valleys I grow.

By:Jane Eggleston

I’ve been thinking a lot about valleys.  After all, it is lent.  I am reminded of last years lent as we were going through our fertility treatments and I was asked to sing the Exultet at our Easter Vigil service (as we had no deacon).  I will refer to a post from last year, And the Journey rolls on…  I feel as though I am coming full circle.  Somehow God always makes his presence known in reminders such as these.  So, this Lent we walk through another valley…I grow, my son grows, my husband grows…we grow together.  But boy…do I see the light Easter right around the corner.  The light of Christ.  Thanks be to God.  Rejoice heavenly hosts and choirs of angels, for the victory of our Mighty King.  Darkness has been vanquished (from the Exultet). 

How loved am I?  So, so, so loved.  I can not express the overflowing love I feel for the little one I spend all of my days with..that God has an even greater love for me, for my family just overwhelms and brings me such great joy and security.  It seems Lent is my time to grow, to hang on to the holy, to feel the holy.  I feel it every time I hold my precious little miracle.  Thank you, God.

Jonathan78

P.S. I’m 3 pounds!!!